December 1, 2023 05:17:05

Beyond Love: The Foundations of Enduring Relationships

Explore a perspective on commitment in the context of love marriages versus arranged marriages and the sources of happiness in life and relationships that contribute to sustaining a relationship.

Have you ever contemplated the distinction between a promise and a commitment? Understand that a promise is an agreement made with others, while a commitment is an agreement made with oneself. Can you envision a world in which parents don’t commit to their children, children don’t commit to their parents, employers and employees don’t commit to each other, buyers and sellers don’t commit to each other, or spouses don’t commit to each other? The result would be a world in chaos.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Shiv Khera, a speaker, author, educator, and business consultant, shared, “The concept of commitment conveys ‘I am dependable in this unpredictable world.’ Why is the world unpredictable? It’s because things change, people change, and circumstances change. However, the term commitment signifies that I will stand by you no matter what, not just until I find a better option. Regrettably, today’s generation often follows the philosophy of ‘love at first sight and divorce at the first fight.'”

He went on to explain, “Strong relationships are founded on emotional resilience. Emotionally fragile individuals struggle to maintain lasting relationships because they are unstable and inconsistent. They exhibit capricious and moody behavior. The same person who is exceptionally pleasant today might turn confrontational tomorrow. Trust cannot be established with such unpredictability. Where is a relationship without trust? Although none of us is perfect, we often hear that tolerance is key to building and preserving relationships. But in reality, I would replace the term ‘tolerance’ with ‘mutual respect.’ Couples coexist not because they can merely tolerate each other but because they genuinely respect each other. Tolerance implies deferring conflicts, while mutual respect fosters emotional connection.”

Khera continued, “My research indicates that two to three hundred years ago, love marriages were uncommon. Most marriages were arranged marriages, where the marriage took place first, and love developed over time. While some of these marriages may have encountered challenges, they generally endured. In today’s Western world, almost all marriages are categorized as ‘love marriages,’ with love preceding the marriage. Interestingly, they exhibit divorce rates of 60-70%.”

He expressed his thoughts on the matter, referring to it as “a joke.” Khera pointed out a new phenomenon of live-in relationships, where couples cohabit without making a formal commitment to assess compatibility. They live together for several years, assess compatibility, and then decide to marry, only to face divorce shortly afterward. The question that arises is, what exactly did they assess? The missing element is commitment. Have you ever encountered a perfectly compatible couple in this world? Compatibility, beyond shared values, is not what sustains a relationship. People can live with differences in life, and apart from shared values, little else can be genuinely compatible. The key lies in adjustment and understanding. When the commitment to stay together outweighs the conflicts, the relationship endures. The foundation for mutual respect lies in the alignment of values.”